Player to watch: power forward Charles Oakley. He could be another Maurice Lucas in the making.
Phoenix, Golden State
These two teams bet on a big draft pick.
There is no clearer evidence of the decline of the Pacific Division than the PHOENIX SUNS. Over the last four seasons they've gone from 53 wins, to 41, to 36, to 32. They'll likely be in that range again.
Arthroscopic surgery slowed the progress of the Suns' big rookie, William Bedford, and even when he returns, a Bedford-James Edwards combo won't be nearly as effective as, say, Ralph Sampson- Akeem Olajuwon. Perhaps Phoenix can surprise if veterans Walter Davis and Larry Nance continue to play as well as they have in a successful preseason. Otherwise, the Suns will set early in the West.
Player to watch: Ed Pinckney. This may be his last season to recapture the Villanova magic.
The GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS chose wisely when they made 6'11" Chris Washburn the third pick of the draft. Provided he improves in the citizenship department, Washburn will be better than either Bedford or Cleveland's Brad Daugherty. The major question mark with the Warriors, though, is how Joe Barry Carroll will respond to Washburn.
Chris Mullin reported to camp at 242 pounds, at least 25 too many for coach George Karl. Mullin apparently thought that Karl had asked for a pulling guard instead of a shooting guard.
Player to watch: Sleepy Floyd. The Warriors feel he can be a top point guard, but the jury's still out.
CAN BARELY OPEN
Indiana, San Antonio, Sacramento